The World Bank has approved a US $84.17-million credit to help the transitional government of Burundi return former combatants to civilian life and to rebuild the country's battered road infrastructure.
In a statement, the Bank said on Thursday that $33 million would go to support the Emergency Demobilisation, Reinsertion and Reintegration Programme while $51.17 million would be used for the rehabilitation of severely damaged primary, secondary and communal roads.
Under the roads rehabilitation programme, the Bank will help to establish and strengthen analytical, planning and management capacity of the institutions involved in improving and maintaining the road system. These institutions include the Ministry of Public Works and Equipment, which is responsible for overall road sector oversight and coordination; and the National Road Agency, which is responsible for all road works and the protection of the environment, the bank reported.
"This project will provide the essential infrastructure for development and much needed employment in a critical post-conflict period when there is high unemployment," Kingson Khan Apara, the World Bank task manager for the project, was quoted as saying.
"The project will also improve access to agricultural production centres, social services, and national and international markets," he added.
The money for the demobilisation programme would help the government to provide economic and social support to former combatants returning to civilian life. This programme has been developed within the framework of the Multi-Country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme for the greater Great Lakes region, a regional partnership initiative comprising seven governments and at least 40 donor and multilateral agencies, the Bank reported.
"The project will support the government of Burundi's efforts to implement a key element of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and subsequent cease-fire agreements," Ingo Wiederhofer, the World Bank task manager for the project, said.
"Successful demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants, coupled with security sector reform, will help to establish an environment conducive to the holding of elections and the return of displaced populations, as well as economic recovery and poverty reduction," Wiederhofer added.